Music City miracle worker
The NHL doesn't hand out an award for executive of the year. The logic of that is something akin to handing out 30 games to
So to borrow a line from
What, you thought it should go to Ottawa's
That's the beauty of an 82-game season.
When it started, Murray, who took over for the fired
As I type this, the Sens are on the cusp of perhaps not making the playoffs, a collapse so spectacular that it rivals the fall of team owner
Contrast that with Poile's Nashville Predators, a team that started the season 2-6 in large part because ownership induced an offseason fire sale that saw No. 1 goalie
Oh, and did we mention that all this came about because there was an attempt by Canadian billionaire
Not exactly conducive to team building, especially when new ownership didn't take control until near the start of the season and still hasn't finished off its financing in regards to an arena lease. But take another look at this supposed "failed franchise" and you see a team that has never stopped competing.
With a lineup of holdovers and newcomers and a pair of goalies no one outside of Nashville ever even heard of let alone regarded, Poile has cobbled together a team that just might slip into the eighth and final playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The feeling grew to a near certainty after Tuesday's 4-3 overtime win at St. Louis in a game the Blues led 3-0 after the opening period of play.
A good team doesn't come back to win a game like that and then squander its remaining chances, especially when the two remaining games on its schedule are a home rematch with the Blues and a season-ender with the gallant but still lowly Chicago Blackhawks.
Any GM who can guide a team to a playoff spot under dire circumstances isn't just good at his job, he is exceptional. Now, I'll give a nod to
"Nobody gets a free pass," Poile told reporters this week. "But as a team, with everything that happened -- from the sale of the team to losing top players to injuries and inconsistencies -- I think it has been a very good year to this point.''
That comes about in large part because Poile filled the holes on his roster with lesser-paid players who were willing to work hard. It also happened because Poile and Trotz and the rest of the coaching staff pushed their guys to play beyond what was expected and perhaps even beyond what the players expected of themselves.
It hasn't gone as smoothly as, say, the year-to-year efforts of the Detroit Red Wings, but it has gone well. Goalie
Pick-up players who were thought to be on the downside of their careers --veteran forward
Poile's team earned 110 points last season and then he saw it ripped apart by changes entirely outside his control. He didn't whine, didn't quit. He simply went out and rebuilt on the fly, producing a team that isn't quite as good, but in its own way has accomplished every bit as much -- maybe even more than the one that preceded it.
When you compare the current Preds to, say, the Buffalo Sabres who won the Presidents' Trophy last season and are likely to miss the playoffs this time around solely on self-inflicted wounds from management, or the sputtering Senators (last season's Eastern Conference champions), or other so-called good teams who didn't have near the problems but are likely to end with less success, the difference is Poile, Trotz. and the way they do their business.
Hands down the best management team in the game this season.
Should be interesting to see who gets the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender this season. GMs tend to think in a herd mentality and seemingly all season they had Vancouver's
With a single-season team record of 46 wins, Nabokov had a shot to tie Brodeur's NHL mark of 48, but has put his team ahead of self and will accept a day of rest so that coach
That's not to say that Nabokov is happy about not having at least a chance to tie Brodeur, but he understands the thinking behind it.
Brodeur has 43 wins so far and a better save percentage (.920) than Nabokov (.910), but the Sharks netminder has a slightly better goals-against average (2.14 as opposed to 2.16). Given that GMs like consistency and reliability, one would think the nod will go to Brodeur who has won the Vezina in three of the last four seasons, but Nabokov may have a shot. He should finish with the most wins in the league, and in the more competitive West, that could sway some voters.
The Ducks are hoping to get forward
Perry has been out of the lineup with a severe laceration in his right quadriceps muscle suffered when he was accidentally cut by a skate in a game against Colorado on March 6. Despite the lost time, Perry is still the Ducks' leading goal scorer, with 29.
There are rumors that Perry could be ready at some point in the first round, but it may be wishful thinking or even a planted bit of encouragement for the troops that are being asked to play hard and hold on until he returns. The Ducks have the fewest goals scored of any team that is contending for a playoff spot this season, averaging a paltry 2.39 per contest with 106 at home and a mere 85 on the road.
Since they've fallen out of playoff contention, you don't hear too many reports of possible postseason awards for Phoenix Coyotes, but they do have a stellar, if largely unnoticed, rookie in center
Mueller ranks second in goals among rookies (22), one behind Chicago center
And while he's listed as a center, Mueller has also been asked to fill in at both right and left wing because of injuries and a falloff in production among the other wings. He did that and still kept contributing.
He likely won't win the award, especially with a -9 on the plus-minus sheets, but he's had a season worth noting in that on his best days he was a reason the Coyotes rose from hopeless to, for a time at least, playoff contenders.
If the Sabres do miss the playoffs, it will be the first time they and their longtime division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, will have failed to show up in the postseason at the same time...
...Since the Columbus Blue Jackets came into the league seven seasons ago, they still haven't played a postseason game. The Florida Panthers have been around a little longer, but they too will miss for a seventh straight season...
...If the Philadelphia Flyers make the postseason, and that's a big if as of today, it could lead to the first ever playoff game appearance for goalie
...Biron's 376 pales in comparison to current league-leader